Digital trends for multichannel retail

With the number of e-retail startups entering the landscape, soon retail brands would find it difficult to differentiate the value proposition. Though ecommerce would be driving incremental revenue, for complete business transformation, retail would be focussing on multichannel optimization in the coming years.

According to Neoworks – the ecommerce people:

The focus of retail multichannel improvement will be on people and services, rather than technology and processes. Retailers are asking “how are customers engaging with my brand?” and “how can we design services that will meet the needs of our customers?”. The answers to these questions come through research and data analysis.

Below are some of the Multichannel Retail Trends for 2016 that have dominated various conferences in the last 1 year:

Data storytelling through Business Intelligence

How can we narrate our brand story through data? In short, how can my current data help me take better decisions for my brand? In 2016 we should expect more investment in business intelligence tools and data mining.

Every brand is trying to make some sense of their business data which is piling up at the speed of light. A decision on which data is relevant and which data is just noise is the first step that companies need to take if they want to make sense of all the data that they are capturing.

Need for understanding customer journey during different buying stages

Research evidence has always helped business leaders to make better decisions. In 2016 more retailers will be investing in research to incorporate the voice of the customer in product development and service improvement.

Questions like ‘How should the brand behave in terms of range of products, price, supply chain and services?’ are common areas for voice of the customer analysis.

From a business perspective, the focus on understanding the customers by listening to them and then using the information to market differently, sell differently and support differently as well as redesign processes is becoming a key differentiator for retailers.

Change happens through people, not through technology or processes

Einstein once said:

I fear the day when technology will surpass human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiots.

And he was spot on right. Technology needs to address the pain only till the point it is not pain in itself.

More than technology, for an organization to drive change, they need vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan. If one of those elements is missing transformation is not possible.

Successful organisational change is an adaptive process that requires the coordinated efforts of a wide range of people at all levels of an organization that are collectively seeking the same positive outcome.

Integration of the high street with the online e-commerce businesses

Most retailers have a multichannel strategy but only a few are going above and beyond the basic services such as wifi, contactless payment and click and collect.

While Line busting which is a wonderful way to manage your POS (Point of sale) is yet to take off in a big way, clienteling and endless aisle are becoming increasingly visible on the high street around the globe.

Multichannel service design

Service design is an interdisciplinary approach that combines many different tools and disciplines. In 2016 more retailers will be developing humanised services designing customer journeys that are alive and interactive.

Companies that understand the opportunity will support customer needs more effectively. Offering a differentiated and consistent customer experience can strengthen loyalty and generate sustainable value.

Multichannel Reality for Small Business Retail

Traditional stores will certainly exist ten years from now, but they will not look the same as today. Many traditional retailers will disappear as competition remains fierce and input costs continue to rise. Others will fail because of an inability to adapt or to change their business model to a multichannel reality in which boundaries between the online and physical worlds disappear.

The future winners among today’s bricks-and-mortar retailers will be those that take the future seriously and are good at managing change.

Digital Trends for Travel Brands in 2016

Digital trends in the last one decade have shown a massive paradigm change in the entire value chain starting from the local travel operator to multi million dollar enterprise company. Travel is arguably the most evolved vertical in the eCommerce space. After all, it doesn’t take much time for a customer to swipe his credit / debit card once he is convinced about a travel offering.

On one side, Social Media rise has positioned itself as the biggest contributor in the net new revenue growth for travel business, newer platforms are taking scale & customer experience to a new level in the online travel space.

Here are some of the key trends that will impact travel industry.

Mobile and some more mobile

  • Within online travel sales, the mobile channel, including sales made through smartphones and tablets, is expected to see the fastest growth over the forecast period. Global mobile travel sales, including both sales made through intermediaries and direct sales, are expected to record a 40% CAGR between 2013 and 2018, reaching US$350 billion.
  • Behind this sharp growth is the rising trend among consumers to use smartphones and tablets not only for searching for travel products but also to book them. Over the forecast period, consumers will become increasingly accustomed to finalising bookings on smaller screens, while travel companies will make bookings and payments through smartphones more convenient, and average sizes of smartphone screens will increase.

Travel in APAC

  • Asia Pacific is expected to drive global online travel retail growth in the 2013-2018 period, recording a 16% CAGR. Thanks to this rapid growth, Asia Pacific is expected to account for 24% of global online travel retail sales by 2018. Over the 2013-2018 period the penetration of the online channel in travel retail sales in the region is expected to increase from 24% to 38%.
  • Japan and China are by far the largest online travel retail markets in Asia Pacific, at US$15 billion and US$14 billion in 2013, respectively. India is the third largest market in the region, at US$7 billion in 2013, and is expected to record a 14% CAGR over the 2013-2018 period.

The rise of MTA’s ( Mobile Travel Agents )

  • The shift from desktop to mobile internet access is having a significant impact on the travel industry, making smartphones and tablets an important booking channel, as well as customer service tool. Always-connected travel consumers expect to receive customer service, and also the opportunity to make additional bookings, not only before the trip but also during the trip.
  • The rising importance of mobile devices means an increased focus for travel companies on the period after the booking and throughout the whole travel experience. This is expected to result in online travel agencies gradually changing their business model to become mobile travel agencies (MTAs).

8 Digital Trends to keep in sharp focus for 2016

Today is the first working day in this calendar year, and if you are a digital marketing professional or entrepreneur, year 2016 holds some great opportunities for you and your organisation.

So whether you are a planner in some digital agency or leading the marketing for some e-startup. Here are some of the key digital and marketing trends to keep in mind before you start your work in 2016:

Trend # 1 – Good News! Digital is poised to surge ahead in 2016 as well

Trend - Digital growth in 2016

Source: FICCI-KPMG, Media Industry Report 2015

The growth in popularity of digital media continued to surge in 2015-16, with a significant growth in digital advertising of 44% due to emergence of ecommerce startups as a significant new category.

Trend # 2 – Mobile Internet is growing, but…

Growth of Mobile Internet 2016

Source: KPMG, India Digital Report, 2015

Smartphones vs Featured Phones Trend 2016

Source : IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Report on Mobile

While the growth is happening in the mobile Internet users, majority of that growth is coming through the feature phones.

Trend 3 – Growth lies in Non urban towns

Urban vs Non Urban Towns - Online Trends

Source: GWI (Global Web Indiex), 2015

Currently, 80% of the Internet traffic comes from Top 14 cities in India. But this will change very shortly. With schemes like Digital India, there is a huge possibility that the digital divide would disappear in the near future. Is your brand ready for the next 1 billion digital customers?

Trend 4 – Content becomes king as display loses significance in Mobile

Mobile Content vs Mobile Advertising - Trends 2016

Source: WARC-MMA Survey Report, 2015

There is little difference between the most favoured mobile channels in India and the rest of the region, with display (including in-app) advertising the most common today

Display advertising is also expected to lose some significance over this period, falling from 69% adoption in India today to 52% in five years, although it will still be the most-used channel.

Content, including native and ‘advertorial’, is expected to see adoption rates rise strongly over the coming years.

Trend 5 – Search + Social would continue to dominate digital media

Top 10 Digital Media Marketing Channels 2016

Source : Comscore Media Metrix , Oct 2015

Google display, mail, horizontals & and social are dominating the display landscape for sometime. The trend would continue in 2016, in fact this could be the year when the pace of social media growth might surpass search in absolute terms.

Trend 6 – Mobile vs Desktop

Mobile traffic has already witnessed a huge surge. In 2015, Google finally stated that mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic in ten countries. The search engine giant also introduced the Mobilegeddon algorithm update in order to level down websites not optimised for mobile devices. However, you are not required to have a desktop website optimised for mobile, as a mobile version of your website is just enough.

Trend 7 – Technology is dominating the online conversations

Topics of Online Conversations & Searches

Source: Global Web Index (India), 2015

Within the GlobalWebIndex survey, digital consumers are asked if they have recently talked or posted an opinion online about 30 different subjects and product categories. If we rank these in India, it is technology, which dominates – with areas like mobiles and computers coming out on top.

Trend 8 – Mobile strategy will constantly overlap with Social Strategy

Mobile vs Social Media in 2016

Source: WARC Asial Survey, 2015

Considering 70% of audience is consuming social media on mobile only, it won’t be incorrect to say that, in 2016, mobile strategy would continuously overlap with social strategy. This is something the digital planners must keep into consideration before building overall digital matrix.

How to write client proposals in a digital agency?

If you are new to digital sales, its an uphill task for you to come into the groove straight away and start getting revenue for the company from day 1.

However, you can certainly build an intent to make a difference to your pipeline by calibrating your digital agency proposals or RFPs by keeping into consideration the below points:

Product Relevance

First, and the foremost question you must try and answer for the client is why your product relevant for the brand in achieving their most critical brand marketing objectives (both strategic & tactical). So whether it is expanding the brand reach in an exclusive territory like a particular ethnic group/ community or it is driving a strong engagement amongst a niche audience across different geographies. Remember, in any case, how you will target the brand’s core audience will remains a key focus.

Innovation

Second, explain how your product/offering brings any strategic leverage for the brand. In simple terms, does it allow the brand to venture out and experiment or play with their current brand messaging in a more innovative way? If your proposal is also offering run of the mill solution to the brand, chances are that your sales person would end up standing in the long queue outside with other vendors.

Domain Experience

Third, what’s your relevant experience in the domain? Not all clients but certainly the high spenders like to work with selected vendors whom they believe have the technical prowess & proven expertise to deal with any future troubleshooting situation, especially when there is serious money at stake. If you position yourself as somebody who can just do the job well by offering competitive pricing, the person on the other side of the table ain’t gonna take you seriously. Agency planners need to see the WOW factor in your proposals every time and nothing better than offering them relevant case studies examples of their client’s competition. So next time, make sure you beef up your proposals with certain strong case study examples.

Understanding of Brand Objectives

Fourth,  have you understood the long term objectives of the brand? For instance, if the brand is launching itself in different geographies, it would expect its partners to bring key market insights on the table to allow him to take future decisions about the brand positioning vis-a-vis the competition.

Vision for Scalability

Fifth, is your approach scalable in future? Interestingly, very rarely I’ve seen this approach in vendor proposals where they talk about how they will span out a strategy which will evolve in the long run and would benefit the brand by offering scalable solution. More often than not most of the people offer a short sighted approach which may or may not give long term returns to the brand. For instance, a lead generation strategy should also come with future customer engagement plan for better customer acquisition.

How to hire talent for your digital startup?

So which version of Android do you own?, a question once put up by a hiring manager in the interview to a young aspiring digital fresher.”I use latest Jelly bean 4.2.3″, prompt came the reply by the youngster.

To my surprise, the kid was later hired for his good IQ, but that organisation did not fire the manager for his oblivion & utter ignorance since 4.2.3 was not even released by google. 🙂

But that’s not the point.

The point is, should we judge any fresh digital marketing talent simply by their knowledge (let me rephrase), by their “borrowed knowledge?”

The answer is a BIG NO!

I agree the quest for hiring digital marketing talent is fairly difficult (for any company) but it need not go through the knowledge lane.

At times,as hiring managers, we must try to find out the intent of individuals, as to what has prompted them to pursue digital marketing as a career option. If digital is a way of life for any individual, then regardless of the smart device they own, they would (and should) have a very strong opinion about its different facets from macro viewpoint.

Finding someone’s perspective (unique or borrowed) can actually become a strong way to differentiate the fresh digital talent available in the market. It will help you to identify who amongst all the candidates, can add some value to the table by their logical &/or lateral thinking.

Another problem which most of the hiring managers would face during this quest is something which is similar to arrange marriages in India. Whenever you meet any new candidate for the interview, often they sound fake in order to get the job.

Now you may argue that faking is not something we can control. Humans are bound to fake, and that’s what my point is. Why to assess them on their borrowed knowledge when you know that they can fake it?

But hang on, you cannot fake a perspective, can you? I agree that you would need to have some knowledge of the subject in question before having an opinion but what you need to judge is whether the candidate offering borrowed perspective (mostly from Google) during the interview?

The hiring needs for digital operations is bound to shoot up exponentially in times to come. A recent review done by 32 marketers on the future of Internet Marketing suggests that the pace of growth in digital jobs in years to follow will outpace any other vertical or horizontal globally.

Now these are just statistical conversations which should  be used in right perspective. What is critical for any HR team/ recruitment firm/ hiring manager is forecasting the kind of resources they would need in next 2-3 years.

Ideally, they should carve their quest well in advance & should also decide if they would like to take a detour from knowledge lane.

On that note, I would like to leave you with this wonderful video chat with Itzhak Perlman (leading violinist), who talks about how to identify creative & imaginative talent?

 

Digital Trends in Mobile App Marketing for 2014

With the pace at which connected tech is evolving, very soon Smart TVs, integrating television along with the power Internet technologies and social media, will replace Television.

Having said that, India is still world’s third largest television market in the world with a combined viewership of 415 million. Millions of these potential Consumers still consuming majority of their daily entertainment & infotainment through television broadcast on a daily basis.

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